Vikings win tough first round NCAA game against Greenville

Augustana+Viking+Donovan+Ferguson+%2820%29+dunks+the+ball+during+the+NCAA+game+against+Greenville+on+Friday+night+at+the+Carver+Center.+Photo+by+Kevin+Donovan

Augustana Viking Donovan Ferguson (’20) dunks the ball during the NCAA game against Greenville on Friday night at the Carver Center. Photo by Kevin Donovan

Madison Williams

The first round of the NCAA Division III tournament was a thrilling one for the Augustana men’s basketball team. They trailed as much as 19 points to the Greenville Panthers, but the Vikings came back in the second half to win 123-111.
Coming into the first round game, the Vikings knew they needed a strong defense to hold the highest average scoring team in the NCAA. The Panthers average around 126 points per game.
Augustana kept Greenville from getting to 100 points until 2:58 to go in the game when the Vikings were ahead by 12 points. For a team that normally scores in the mid-100s, this was a major confidence booster for the Vikings to finish the game strong.
The first half was a test for Augustana as they never had the lead and the closest they got to the Panthers was by three points after the first basket. At the half, the Vikings trailed 54-67. The Panthers had 11 three pointers and 23 field goals against the Vikings’ three three pointers and 17 field goals.
Augustana sophomore Donovan Ferguson (13 points, 14 rebounds) got the crowd on their feet within 11 seconds of the second half with a dunk. Following this a minute later was Augustana junior Nolan Ebel’s three point shot that paved the way for the team to spark their scoring spree in the second half. Ebel was Augustana’s lead scorer of the game with 26 points.
By the 13:41 mark in the second half, the Vikings tied the score for the first time since the game began at 80-80. Baskets made by Augustana juniors Chrishawn Orange (18 points) and Brett Benning (18 points) helped fuel the Vikings dramatic comeback.
The Vikings continued to trail until they went on a 13-0 run to put them ahead 100-93. The Panthers continued to miss multiple field goal attempts. They only scored four of their 20 three-point attempts in the second half.
In the last five minutes of the game, the closest the Panthers got to the Vikings was by 10 points. The Panthers only scored 44 points in the second half compared to the 69 points the Vikings scored.
Augustana’s bench played a crucial role in the Vikings’ victory. Junior Joe Kellen scored his season high 20 points. Freshman Jack Jelen hadn’t played in almost a month, but in his 11 minutes, he scored a significant three pointer and had two assists.
The second round NCAA game against Hope College will be on Saturday, March 3 at 7 PM in the Roy J. Carver Center.
Photo at Top: Augustana Sophomore Donovan Ferguson dunks the ball during the NCAA game against Greenville on Friday night. Photo by Kevin Donovan

Augustana Vikings (right to left) Dylan Sortillo (’18), Chrishawn Orange (’19) and Brett Benning (’19) walk through a line of congratulatory fans after their NCAA victory against Greenville on Friday night. Photo by Kevin Donovan